Cardinals 10, Pirates 2

Runner on third, runner on first, none out in the first and
Albert Pujols at bat. No reliever should face such a situation.

The Pirates’ Sean Gallagher did. The result was almost
predictable.

Pujols hit a three-run home run one pitch after injured Pirates
starter Ross Ohlendorf was pulled during a four-run St. Louis first
inning, and the Cardinals moved to within a game of the NL wild
card lead by beating Pittsburgh 10-2 on Monday night.

”That’s a tough inning to go into,” Pirates manager John
Russell said, sympathizing with Gallagher. ”When you starter comes
out after two batters, that’s a lot of game for the bullpen to
cover.”

Kyle Lohse (2-5), making his second start since spending nearly
three months on the disabled list with a right forearm injury,
pitched five scoreless innings before giving up Garrett Jones’
two-run homer in the sixth. Lohse was lifted one out later, but
still won for the first time since May 17 against Washington.

Pujols had another big night, homering in his 10th game of the
Cardinals’ last 19 while adding a single and a double in five
at-bats. He has eight homers in 22 games against the Pirates since
last season, and 43 in 149 career games against them.

Yadier Molina also had three of the Cardinals’ 14 hits and drove
in two runs. St. Louis won its third in a row overall to cut the
Phillies’ wild-card lead to a single game. The Phillies lost 3-2 at
home to Houston.

Ohlendorf (1-11) threw only eight pitches before being removed
due to soreness and tightness in his right shoulder, but they were
enough to give him his fifth consecutive loss. According to STATS
LLC, only four starting pitchers – including Tom Glavine and Roger
Clemens – have thrown fewer pitches in a loss dating to 1988.

Ohlendorf walked Skip Schumaker and gave up Jon Jay’s single
before alerting the bench of his shoulder problem. Pujols then
homered on Gallagher’s belt-high pitch, a drive that cleared the
Cardinals bullpen in center field and landed in the Pirates bullpen
behind it.

Pujols’ homer was his 33rd of the season and 399th of his
career. He is one away from becoming the 47th major leaguer with
400.

”Early in the game like that you want to make sure we get
something out of that,” Pujols said. ”He gave me a good pitch to
hit and I put my best swing on it and it went out of the
park.”

They often go out for him in PNC Park, where Pujols has 24
homers in 299 at-bats.

”Albert’s good everywhere,” manager Tony La Russa said. ”If
he’s not good in a series or two, he will be. It isn’t anything
about this ballpark or this pitching.”

One day after acknowledging making nearly $36 million in profits
from 2007-09, the Pirates almost couldn’t buy an out during the
extended first inning. The Cardinals’ first six batters reached
base as Pittsburgh’s two pitchers didn’t retire a batter until 22
minutes into the game.

”That’s a pitching coach and a manger’s nightmare, to see your
starting pitcher go off like that,” La Russa said. ”Nothing good
can happen. And we stayed relentless the rest of the night.”

Ohlendorf will have an MRI test on Tuesday.

”It got worse with each pitch. I didn’t feel great warming up
but I thought I could pitch,” he said. ”Hopefully it’s in the
muscle and not the shoulder.”

The Cardinals stretched the lead to 7-0 during a three-run fifth
against Gallagher that started with Pujols’ double and included
Matt Holliday’s run-scoring single and Molina’s RBI double.

Lohse struck out four, walked two and gave up two runs and six
hits, a much better start than his first since returning to the
rotation. He gave up seven runs and six hits in three innings of a
9-7 loss to the Cubs on Aug. 15.

”It’s been a long time coming,” Lohse said. ”It feels good to
contribute and have a good outing and get a win. I’ve still got a
lot of room for improvement.”

The Pirates lost their sixth in seven games and 13th in 15
games, leaving them 16 losses short of their first 100-loss season
since 2001. They must go 22-15 in their remaining 37 games to avoid
100.

NOTES: Lohse is 5-0 against Pittsburgh. … Pirates 1B-OF Jeff
Clement was placed on the disabled list and LHP Justin Thomas was
called up from Triple-A Indianapolis. Thomas allowed two runs in
the ninth. … The Cardinals have outscored the Pirates 46-11 in
their six victories against them this season. Pittsburgh has won
once. … The Brewers’ Jamie McAndrew threw four pitches during a
loss on Aug. 28, 1995.